Microsoft Azure Rights Management: An Introduction

Microsoft Azure Rights Management

The final piece in Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite is Microsoft Azure Rights Management (Azure RMS). This service protects your files in the cloud from unauthorized access. It encrypts files and emails in the cloud and requires that access be configured. This service functions in a similar manner to AD RMS, though one is in the cloud and one is on premises.


Azure Rights Management protects files in the cloud. Administrators can assign rights from their Azure Active Directory, just like they can from an on premises solution. Administrators can also prevent editing a file, copying from the file, deleting the file, etc. This is big for companies with regulatory requirements. They can show auditors detailed logs, as well as protect their files from outside access.

The first step in using Azure RMS is setting up an Azure account, if you haven’t already. Secondly, you need to download and install the Microsoft Rights Management sharing application, found here: This application allows you to share files through rights management. This application will also allow you to set the RMS permissions.



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This particular image is showing the protect-in-place method. It will protect the file on your device. To set up sharing, click “Share Protected”. There are limited options if the document is not an Office document. Here is what the screen will look like:


You can select the rights level for each file. You can also expire access to the file.

The biggest advantage to Azure Rights Management is that the protections flow from system to system. If you email the file to someone who has no access to your organization, the permissions on the file will stay the same. If you move the file from one domain to another, the permissions stay the same.


Azure Rights Management also gives you the ability to encrypt emails. This can be huge in some industries. The email is encrypted in transit, so the contents can only be read by the receiver. This feature is only available using Office 365. You must have Office 365 to send the email, but you can send encrypted email to anyone. When someone outside of your organization views the email, it actually comes in as an attachment that the end user clicks on. This takes them a “viewing portal” where they can see the message and reply to it. The replies are encrypted coming back.



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